From the "Banana Belt" of Colorado…

Our door at -14 F

For some reason, they call the Arkansas River Valley (where Salida, Coaldale, and Cotopaxi are situated) the banana belt of Colorado. I submit the photos above as evidence to the contrary!  Note that in The Mountain Mail newspaper, Cotopaxi unofficially reported -30 F! We draped a wool blanket over our door during the winter event to add some more insulation, and the door froze over in a big way.  (That should tell you something about our insulation!)  Prior to this artic blast, we got pummeled with snow.  At one point, there was about three feet on the ground.  Much of it has melted here in the valley, but today, we went snowshoeing up in Spruce Basin, and there is still probably three feet on the ground up there.

But the cold does have some advantages. The clear, cold air makes for some gorgeous photos.  We snapped these shots after a very cold, but foggy night along the river. The frozen fog lands on the trees forming the most beautiful crystalline structures.

Simon’s adjustment to the snowy conditions was difficult at first.  He’d go out and play for just 3-4 minutes, then lie down and lick his paws.  I don’t know if it was simply cold footies, the rough snow, or the ice balls that formed between his digits.  We got really worried about him when we wouldn’t go poop for 3-4 days, but nature did eventually take its course… thank doggie god!

As for Teresa and I, we decided a little while ago to find office space in Salida, but we didn’t want to do so until we had some work lined up.  Teresa scored a pretty sweet deal with a company in Atlanta before we left.  She basically will be working in AutoCAD, drawing details for installing metal canopies and aluminum composite siding for commercial structures.  The way the contract works out, she is basically offered a job and can accept or reject the job based on how busy she is.  It is a perfect situation for us… if she’s busy working on our house, she can simply reject the job… but right now, she could use the work!

I, on the other hand, left Atlanta with little more than a few leads for work at my old company Nexidia.  (It’s a neat company with incredibly interesting audio search technology.  You can try out Nexidia technology at an Atlanta TV station’s website: 11 Alive.)  I interviewed for a job out of Denver that would have allowed me to telecommute.  The interview went well I think, but things just didn’t feel right and the pay was very low.  Thankfully, I got a call from Nexidia once I got back to Colorado and was able to line up work with my old boss.  Once I had work lined up, I set up our business (Tanda Enterprises, LLC) with the click of a mouse over on the Colorado Secretary of State website and the IRS website.  After all of the research, it took me maybe an hour and cost only $25.  Just to think that people pay thousands of dollars to lawyers to have this kind of work done.  Now we could begin our office space search in earnest.

And so we searched through the town of Salida, the little town we have fallen in love with out here.  We looked at sublease spaces with no windows.  We looked at storefronts which were actually pretty nice, but right off the main highway, about a mile from downtown.  But we fell in love with this space in the heart of downtown at 134 F Street.

It is less than a block from the “big intersection” of F Street and First Street (complete with traffic light!).  We can walk to everything, including a grocery store, a couple of hardware stores, furniture stores, restaurants, art galleries, etc…  The office itself is about 235 sq feet.  The building was constructed in the 1890’s, but was refurbished in the last year or two.

The space is simply gorgeous.  Check out all the natural light and the hardwood floors.  Our window looks out onto the roof, but the mountains (fourteen-ers) are just beyond.

Some things you can’t see: it’s affordable and it has high speed internet (approx 7mb down/ 800 k up).  I unfortunately, had to leave Salida for a few days to go back to Atlanta to get set up for working remotely, but I came back with a Nexidia laptop, and now I’m working on a desktop audio searching application in Java which should prove useful to anyone trying out Nexidia technology.  (Basically, it will help you find a virtual needle in a virtual haystack of audio.)  And Teresa’s about to start on her next contracting job.  It sure will be nice to see the money equation reversing itself over the next few months.  How did we get to be this lucky?  ?

Teresa and I are just amazed at our good fortune.  We get to live AND work in a place we love.  The only obstacle appears to be finding the time to enjoy our surroundings.  This appears to be a universal problem.  When you live in an area for a while, its as if you never get around to enjoying some of the local sights, sounds, smells, and tastes.  When were in Atlanta, we only visited the local attractions when we had guests in town.  I hope that doesn’t happen to us here.  We need to make an effort to get out on the weekends, enjoy the local community, and get to know other folks!  I hope to get out to Ski Monarch mountain in the next weekend or two.

PS Here are some photos we uploaded recently, but were taken back in December during out travel between Birmingham and Colorado. We found this clever vignette at a rest stop:

Simon sniffs around a little bit at the “city” pee spot.

And chooses wisely…


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